Toledo, OH – A Toledo police detective was shot early Thursday in west Toledo, and is now in critical condition at an area hospital, police said.
At 2:02 a.m. Thursday morning, members of the Toledo Police Department’s SWAT Team were serving a “knock and announce” drug warrant when Jermaine Hill began shooting at them, police said.
Toledo Police Chief George Kral said that the 38-year-old, wheelchair-bound man fired multiple rounds through the doorway where the SWAT team was making their entrance.
One of the rounds Hill fired struck Vice Metro Detective Jason Picking, a six-year veteran of the Toledo Police Department, Chief Kral said.
“The round struck Det. Picking on the left side right, near his mouth, and the round is currently lodged in his neck,” he said. “The round shattered his jaw, nicked an artery in his mouth, and caused extensive soft tissue damage. He will be requiring major reconstructive surgery in the very near future.”
Police said they’d just announced their presence when Hill began shooting.
Det. Picking wasn’t part of the SWAT entry crew, but was part of the support team staged nearby.
“The detective was probably 30 yards away from the target home, a house away from the home, standing next to the SWAT truck. So he wasn’t part of the entry team. He wasn’t on the porch. He wasn’t even remotely close. This round that Mr. Hill fired ended up in his direction, and he was struck,” Chief Kral said.
The SWAT team decided the “most prudent action” for the layout of that home at that point was to back out of the situation and regroup, he said.
No shots were fired by police, and Hill was taken into custody at the scene. Officers recovered the weapon Hill used to shoot at police.
“I want to take a moment to commend the SWAT officers who were on the scene this morning. They showed an incredible amount of weapons discipline, and should be commended for their actions,” the chief said.
Det. Picking’s wife is a dispatcher with the Toledo Police, and she was on the air when her husband was shot, and a “life squad” was requested, he said.
Her supervisor hustled her into a car and they met the chief and the ambulance at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center, where Det. Picking remains in critical condition.
No other officers or civilians were injured, and police did not confirm whether they have made any other arrests in the case.
Toledo Police posted the following tweet early Thursday:
WTOL said they spoke with Hill’s mother at the scene and she told them that her son was shot in the leg and has “been in a wheelchair for years.”
Hill’s stepdaughter said that Hill may have fired a shot thinking that someone was breaking into his home.
This is the first police officer who has been shot since Chief Kral became head of the department.
“It took me a second to register what had occurred,” he said.
“You never know what’s going to happen. And when a tragedy like this happens, it reinforces that … that’s why we have to be hypervigilant at all times,” Chief Kral said.
Police are continuing to investigate the shooting.